This week I’m taking an unexpected break from all my musings and posts on Marrakech to tell you about a wonderful evening we had last weekend when the Polo Bar at the Westbury Hotel invited us along for some cocktails and nibbles. It’s not often that Mr Ayla and I get the chance to have an evening out together in London but when we do get the opportunity we always like to do something a bit different. Heading to the Westbury Hotel in London’s plush Mayfair, with Christmas lights already twinkling in the streets around us, the evening was definitely one to remember despite all the cocktails that were to come!
As soon as we stepped into the warmth of the bar we felt so welcomed by both Elias the manager and Salvatore who would be our host for the evening. It’s quite a classy and sophisticated place, yet it still had a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and we sank back into our cosy chairs in the corner and did some people watching while the Swarovski crystal decorations made the dimly lit room sparkle.
We started off with the cocktails that sounded like they’d get our taste buds tingling the most – a Mayfair Gold for me (Tanqueray gin with fresh lychees, elderflower and Moet Brut Rose) – sweet, fruity, sensual and sparkling with gold flecks that had my lips shining after every sip. Mr Ayla chose the Brazilian Kiss (Cachaca shaken with blueberries, vanilla syrup, a splash of lime and Moet) which was equally as delicious.
The staff must have guessed that I always like a taste of other people’s food and drink as each cocktail came with a miniature version of itself so that we could both try each others. We agreed that this is the way every cocktail should be served!
We were expecting to try just a few little nibbles but what followed can only be described as a feast of canapés. The first round arrived at our table looking fabulous – Panko Crusted Prawns presented in lollipop style fashion and Smoked Salmon Cones. It’s amazing what a bit of presentation can do but these both had the wow factor and I spent ages oohing and ahhing and taking photos before we eventually dug in.
Prawns are usually a bit too rubbery for my liking but these ones, coated in breadcrumbs with a tangy sweet chilli sauce, were really tasty. My favourites though were the salmon cones and I gobbled them up like they were mini ice creams.
The next course of cocktails and canapés came out and my eyes widened as I was told that it was octopus. I’ve had a bit of a phobia of eating anything squid-like since my mum tricked me into eating calamari when I was a little girl under the pretence that it was an onion ring. But I’m always open to trying new things and I’m glad I did as the thinly sliced octopus was actually really tasty. With smoked paprika mayonnaise and some salad garnish it went down surprisingly well and wasn’t anywhere near as rubbery or squid-like as I was expecting!
Another dish of grilled halloumi (because halloumi is always a good idea) with aubergine beignet finished off our savoury dishes perfectly.
We’d had two courses of canapés and cocktails by this point and even though we hadn’t had a main meal we were still feeling pretty full. But Salvatore managed to convince us into more because it was time for the dessert course and we obviously couldn’t miss out on this (FOMO is an excuse I use quite regularly when it comes to dessert).
Another round of mini cones arrived this time filled with hazelnut liquor, pastry cream, caramel and honey cress. As good as they looked I had to miss out on these as I’m allergic to nuts but for once this was a good thing because it meant I got to devour the dark chocolate ganache all to myself! Okay, I may have given Mr Ayla a little taste – I’m not that mean – but mostly it was mine. And it was divine.
Salvatore picked us out a couple more cocktails that we wouldn’t have usually gone for but they complemented each of our desserts perfectly.
To be honest this isn’t somewhere that I would usually think of visiting but we had such a lovely evening, fantastic service and, most importantly, mouth-watering food and drink, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return. The Polo Bar is the perfect spot for pre-dinner or pre-show drinks near the West End or, like us, for just a wonderfully relaxed and enjoyable evening.
Have you been to any of the bars or restaurants at the Westbury Hotel? What’s your favourite cocktail bar in London? Let me know in the comments below or at:
Lots of thanks to the Polo Bar who hosted our evening. We will definitely be back to try some more cocktails!